What is it about music? What makes it so comforting and refreshingly new all at once?
A simple strumming of the guitar or stroking of keys bring forth this rush of feelings, memories and bliss — all tied to just those little notes. And, let's not forget lyrics that speak to our pasts, present and hopes for the future.
Anyone who shares my passion for music knows exactly what I'm talking about. A damn good song can pour into you with this warmth that spreads throughout your whole body. An album can suck you in. A live performance can captivate you.
Somewhere along the way, you were hooked, and you fell in love. Music truly is a love affair.
This isn't anything groundbreaking, I know. Music has always had a pretty strong presence in the world.
It's a product of culture and influence, which has been bringing people together long before we even picked up our first Walkman.
Being that it is something that has such a huge importance in so many of our lives, it's only natural that we make our best attempts to pinpoint the exact reason why we have the emotional reactions to music that we do.
One study conducted through the National Academy of Sciences monitored the changes of cerebral blood flow of test subjects when listening to their musical genre of preference.
Or, to put it in simpler terms, they studied what listening to music did to people's brains and what they found was some pretty stirring stuff.
The music caused the subjects to have increased activity in regions of the brain which were "known to be active in response to other euphoria-inducing stimuli, like food, sex and drugs of abuse."
So, for anyone who's referred to music as his or her drug, well, there's your scientific proof.
They go further to conclude from these findings that this reaction occurs in a part of our brains associated with pleasure and reward, and thus, "links music with biologically relevant, survival-related stimuli."
There you have it, folks. You cannot be a living, breathing human being and not love music.
It's how we're wired. But there are some people, myself included, who take their love for music a step further, to a place of full-on obsession.
For those of you who consider yourself to fall in this category, these behaviors should sound all too familiar to you:
1. Your Life Requires A Constant Soundtrack
For all kinds of moods and situations, you have crafted the perfect playlist.
Whether it be pump-up jams to motivate your morning workout, soothing acoustics to get you through the workday, an eclectic grouping of folk and classic rock to accompany you on that lengthy road trip or a series of sultry Lucinda Williams-esque tunes to comfort you during a breakup, music is essential at all times.
To that point, it's highly unlikely that you will even be able to leave the driveway until you've made a song selection.
2. It's A Deal-Breaker In Dating Relationships
This one should come as no surprise. The people we keep close to us are the ones we typically have some common ground with. Mainly, these bonds are made through similar backgrounds, values or interests.
So naturally, when creating your mental checklists when seeking a significant other, "must be crazy-obsessed with music" is somewhere near the top.
You were probably one of those teenagers who loved nothing more than to get a mix CD from your first boyfriend or girlfriend.
Because nothing fuels puppy love quite like the right Red Hot Chili Peppers ballad.
Translated into adulthood, this looks… well, about the same. And, thanks to apps like Spotify and SoundCloud, we are able to have a constant and instantaneous exchange of music flowing.
This is a dream come true because to you, nothing is quite as poetic or expressive as music.
If, however, your potential romantic interest doesn't quite get that, he or she simply isn't speaking your love language and it's on to the next one.
3. Seeing Your Favorite Band Live Is A Religious Experience
No matter how many live tracks we listen to or concert footage we watch on AXS TV, nothing is comparable to seeing your favorite band in the flesh.
Whether you pledge your allegiance to RHCP or Dave, you can recall exactly where and when you saw that band you have had a nearly lifelong loyalty to.
Live music in itself is such a pleasurable experience for you that not many other things come as close to that feeling of pure, intoxicating bliss.
4. You Hoard Vacation Days In Anticipation Of Festival Season
With how much you enjoy hearing live music, it's a given that you look forward to festivals with gleeful anticipation.
This is the proverbial watering hole for the music-obsessed, a temporary community made up of people who feel that same fanatical passion as you.
Festivals are where friendships are formed and strengthened, where for a few short days, you can see multitudes of artists among people giving off a similar aura of giddy excitement to be there.
Seeing live music can be a very personal thing, and sharing this with others enables you to feed off each other's energy, only magnifying the experience.
As a result, from the point at which the first few lineups for the summer are announced, you begin to mark your calendar and do that dreaded dance in the grown-up world: the designating of your dwindling vacation days.
You find yourself squandering these days and passing up other equally attractive vacation plans that friends and family proposition you with.
But in the end it's all worth it in your eyes, because a festival is a music-lovers' playground. And for those few days, you escape adulthood.
Really, that's what music is all about for me. To quote one of my all-time favorite bands, Nada Surf, when I listen to music, "I'm just a happy kid."